European Aquatics Champions League Men and Challenger Cup Men

Champions League Men’s Water Polo Quarter Final Stage – Group B Results:
Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) 12-8 AN Brescia (ITA)
FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) 11-9 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)

Group B is labelled as the group of death as all four sides have been not just regular F8 participants, but were usually involved in semis and finals in recent editions.

Still, the pattern remained the same as it was in Group A on Friday – the two host sides, top ranked and unbeaten in the group stage, did a clean job to bag three points in the opening round of the Quarter Final Stage.

Though Brescia has become Barceloneta’s nemesis in recent years – the Spaniards could beat them only twice in 11 CL matches – this time the Italians were no match for the host side.

They tried to keep up and even after Barceloneta jumped to a 4-1 lead, they came back to 5-4.

Then, after being 7-4 down at half-time, Max Irving pulled one back for 7-5 after four minutes of hard battling in the third.

There Brescia had a man-up after a time-out, but this time Unai Aguirre denied Irving – and with 13 seconds from time Felipe Perrone forced a penalty, Alberto Munarriz buried it, so it stood 8-5 and not 7-6.

That proved to be crucial as another fine combination landed another penalty for Barceloneta one minute into the last period, this time Perrone sent the ball home and at 9-5 there was no way back for the Italians.

Vincenzo Dolce’s blast reduced the gap but Perrone was on target once more from a man-up for 10-6.

The remaining time was devoted to a couple of action goals at both ends as Barceloneta kept the four-goal advantage till the end.

Just like in Barcelona, the Komjadi Pool in Budapest accommodated a capacity crowd and the fans also left the scene happily at the end.

In the opening period, the former players of the clubs did some damage here and there, Stylianos Argyropoulos hit one from the distance against Olympiacos (where he played for years), soon Marton Vamos put the Greeks ahead, in his home-town.

FTC responded with a double to lead 3-2 after eight minutes, then Argyropoulos added two more in the second.

However, Olympiacos also had the answers and stayed close, trailed 5-4 at half-time, despite Soma Vogel coming up with a usual penalty stop in this period, denying Ioannis Fountoulis.

Then in the third the hosts managed to gear up a bit, Dusan Mandic’s blast doubled their lead, then their defence started dominating.

The Greeks were unable to score from man-ups – they lost Vamos early in this period with three fouls, so were left without a leftie – sometimes they couldn’t even take a shot during the 20 seconds.

And with 1:07 on the clock, Adam Nagy’s pinpont effort gave a 7-4 lead for the hosts who shut out the Greeks for the entire quarter.

Mandic’s third blast put the writing on the wall for Olympiacos and after they missed another six on five (were 0 for 8 at this point), Vendel Vigvari’s smart action shot kind of closed down the contest at 9-4.

Then Fountoulis finally managed to score in a man-up – it was also their first goal after 12:27 minutes – and soon they climbed back to 9-6, but Argyropoulos netted his 4th in the evening to make it 10-6 and it was over.

Towards the end, the Greeks could halve the distance with a double in the last minute after 11-7, but FTC’s victory was never in danger.

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